This week, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) and Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and EPA Region 4 Administrator Mary Walker to establish collaborative efforts and foster relationships between agencies.
“In Florida, protecting our natural lands and waterways goes hand-in-hand with environmental conservation efforts being employed by farmers across the state. Our growers are key partners in ensuring our natural resources are preserved for generations to come,” said Fried on Tuesday. “By enhancing collaboration between the EPA and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, we are continuing the work towards our shared goal of ensuring clean air and water and preserving the natural resources on which we all depend, including agricultural producers that feed Florida and America’s families.”
The MOU between EPA and FDACS includes education and outreach, communication and coordination, and a recognition of environmental stewardship activities, and signifies a strengthened partnership between the two agencies in their shared mission of protecting and conserving natural lands and waterways.
“Agriculture is such a significant industry in the southeast and is a contributor to the health of the region’s economy and environment. This MOU further demonstrates our commitment to partnership with the agricultural community,” said Walker. “We look forward to working with farmers and ranchers in finding solutions that benefit agriculture and the environment.”
With a $137 billion economic impact, agriculture is Florida’s second-largest industry. Florida’s 47,500 farms across more than nine million acres support two million jobs, and provide 300 nutritious commodities year-round – from fresh fruit and vegetables to seafood, beef, dairy, poultry, and more. Florida farmers export $4.3 billion in commodities to 158 countries, feeding families across the state, nation, and world.